Sony Music [Release date 12.01.18]
Satch’s energy and work output seem to have no chance of exhaustion. He releases fairly regular albums, always including a smattering of greatness, and making his peers sometimes seem lazy.
That continuing zest for performance is displayed on opener – appropriately titled – ‘Energy’. It contains all the twists and turns you’d expect from this highly influential player. Again aided and abetted by a fine band, this time none other than Glenn Hughes (where does he get his energy from?) and one-time Chickenfoot compadre Chad Smith. This is all sewn togther by the one constant in Satriani’s recording career, producer Mike Fraser.
‘Catbot’ sums up a typical Satch workout and the great groove that permeates this album – the emphasis on melody and a great bridge.
‘Thunder High On The Mountain’ on the other hand wavers from hard rock to the more reflective as Satriani hits typical storytelling mode before the tune stampedes off in an almost folksy way and then returning to the excellent rib-shaking riff.
The album is full of sweet tones and arrangements: ‘Cherry Blossoms’ for example features an attractive pizzicato section whilst ‘Righteous’ and ‘Smooth Soul’ are mid-tempo ballads that keep the listener engaged whilst away from the more frenetic.
Talking of which, ‘Headrush’ is ‘Satch Boogie”s bastard sibling with a wonderful arpeggiated bridge section and the funky undertow of the title track dovetails into the heads-down groove/jam of ‘Super Funky Badass’. There are some fusiony flavours on ‘Invisible’ which hints at a possible future direction of travel.
It must be very difficult for a ground-breaking guitarist to stay at the top of his game and still sound fresh. Much must be made of the contribution of his partners in groove Glenn and Chad. But on this, his sixteenth solo album, Satriani still sounds relevant and will still make most wannabe guitarists run for cover. ****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
G3 UK TOUR (JOE SATRIANI, JOHN PETRUCCI, ULI JON ROTH)
Tuesday 24 April – Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Wednesday 25 April – London Eventim Apollo
Thursday 26 April – Bristol Colston Hall
Friday 27 April – Manchester Apollo
Sunday 29 April – Portsmouth Guildhall
Monday 30 April – Birmingham Symphony Hall
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